Life

October 11, 2014

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted. (Actually, it’s only been a month). It just seems longer, for some reason. So what’s been up in my life lately?

Introvert Insecurities

As most of you know, I am a total introvert. I’ve always been somewhat shy, even as a little girl, and that just sort of stayed with me. I also think part of it was due to being home-schooled up until 8th grade; then I was suddenly thrust into public school. As I look back in hindsight, I wish I would have pushed myself more and gotten out of my comfort zone and spoken up more.

However, I’m not always shy; sometimes I would rather just sit back, listen, and observe.

For example: One night we had a meeting at church (I really didn’t need to be there but didn’t realize it until it was too late). I was bored most of the meeting and didn’t say a whole lot. (We were there for 3 and a half hours- 6:30 to a little after 10). I was drained by 8:30 and wanted to go home already. (The meeting consisted of me, Dad, and 5 other people, one of which was our pastor). There were a couple times when some of the others went into the next room to discuss something and so it was just me and one other girl together, and I started talking to her then.

Anyway, this one lady (although I’m sure she didn’t mean to), embarrassed me. Our pastor asked me my opinion on something, and the lady pointed at me and said, “She hasn’t said one word all night!” The others laughed, and I just smiled in embarrassment. The girl that I had talked to earlier stood up for me, saying that I had made a few comments when it was just me and her, but I still felt so dumb. Now the lady that embarrassed me, I love her. She is a very sweet lady and I don’t think she meant to hurt or embarrass me. She is opposite of me, however. She is a chatty Cathy and I am a silent Sally. But, it was a lesson learned. I do need to learn to talk more and not be so shy. Sigh. And I also should have driven separately instead of going with Dad (but hey, I wanted to save on gas. It wasn’t worth it this time, though).

Like I’m not already insecure enough about them. I have had my shyness/introverted-ness pointed out and made fun of so often that I wonder if that’s God telling me to get out of my comfort zone more. Not saying I’ll totally change who I am; I’ll always be an introvert. I just need to start speaking up more.

 

Mindblown Posts

Yes. Yes, I do. *Sigh*

 

True :)

That should say, “Shy people usually end up being some of the coolest people you know after you start talking to them”. (I hate when a word is misspelled or left out of a quote).

Don’t underestimate us! Okay, now I have to brag a little bit. 2 or 3 years ago, our youth group had an event called “The Amazing Race”. We divided up into teams (Red, Blue, Green, White, Black, and Pink), and each team had a list of things they needed to accomplish. Whichever team got done first was the winner. Each team had the same list of things to accomplish, but had different times at which to accomplish them. Me and my brother Eric were on separate teams, and my team at one point was at someone’s house and we had 2 choices. We could either go on a boat and get something, or do a Bible crossword puzzle. We opted for the crossword puzzle, (much to my relief), and, not to sound prideful or anything, but I knew a lot of the answers to the puzzle, and my teammates kept congratulating me. :-D  In the end, our team didn’t win, but I still felt good about myself. I also learned that Eric had done something really well for his team (though his team didn’t win either), and one of the guys from Eric’s team said, “Man, those Wengerd kids are smart.” Yeah we are! Woot woot!

 

The Single Life

Yes, I am still struggling in my singleness. My cousin Tonia gave birth to her first child, Kierra, in February of this year. My other cousin, Amber, gave birth to her third child, Simon, in May of this year. And yet another cousin, Kristin, is expecting her first child in March. Needless to say, I feel rather left out. :'(

I met with my dear Aunt Ruby for coffee last week, and I was lamenting my singlehood woes to her. I was telling her, “It’s not fair that most of my cousins and friends got married within four years of each other. Amber and Tonia got married in 2010, Susie got married in 2011, Kelly and Bradley married in 2012, and Kristin and Daniel married in 2013. When will my turn come?”

Aunt Ruby told me that they had a visiting pastor in their church recently, and his message was, “Life Isn’t Fair.” She said that he talked about how no, it’s not fair that others have certain things that we don’t. But, he also talked about how it’s not fair that we have so much in America, while others have so little. Aunt Ruby told me, “Look at this way. It’s not fair that you were raised in a godly home, while others are being abused. You could have been raped, molested, been born in Iraq or Syria and captured or killed, or been born in Africa and gotten Ebola,” etc. Wow. That really puts things in perspective. I do have so much to be thankful for. That humbled me.

 

Very much so!!

 

 

I still desire marriage and children, but God has been showing me the beauty of singleness, too. I can’t speak for all moms, but I hear of mothers who want some time to themselves. Me? I have so much free time after work. Usually after supper is when I go off to my room and read, listen to music, watch DVDs on my laptop, or I’ll go to the office and write. I tend to take my free time for granted. My time is mine, and my money is mine. Every year the ladies from our church go on a shopping trip, and we’re going again this Tuesday (the 14th). I am planning on going, and it’s nice because all I have to do is ask off work, get money from the bank, and I’m set. If I was married, I’d have to ask my husband if he was okay with me shopping, how much of our money could I spend, and I’d have to find a sitter for the kids. And speaking of kids, my co-worker, Linda, has a daughter named Emilie, and lately she’s been supporting things that go against the Bible. This distresses Linda immensely, and I admit I get scared of that. What if I do get married and have kids, but my kids turn away from the faith? Sometimes it’s nice just to take care of the kids at church and then give them back to their parents afterwards.

 

My Quirkiness

As most of you know, I love to write (hence this blog). I like to write stories, but am so self-conscious of them and rarely show them to anyone.

 

I had a friend from high school that I felt comfortable showing my stories to, but we don’t keep in contact anymore, and for a while, although I knew my stories were silly, I still deeply desired someone to show them too. Thankfully, God heard the desire of my heart, and allowed me some wonderful new friends to share my stories with (and I feel safe and comfortable showing them my stories). Now, I don’t show them to just anyone, because most of it is just fan-fiction fluff. One of those people is Linda, my bookmobile co-worker. I do hope so much my friends like and enjoy it. I had a lot of fun writing it. :-)  I may be quiet and not talk much, but I can write a 203 page fan-fiction story. (Did I actually just say that? Now everyone’s going to want to read it, and honestly, I’m picky about who I let read my stories). Oh well. :-/

 

...and that's who I am.

 

God has blessed me with another story idea, and I can’t wait to start writing it and show it to my friends!

 

 

 

Very true.

At least I do.

 

Follow t h a t s m y l i t t l e f a c t ♥ for more quotes and fun facts! Feel free to check out our Facebook page h e r e and our Instagram h e r e!

That should say, “My life is so much more interesting inside my head”.

It's a Writer Thing

Too true.

I don’t know why my story ideas are so silly, but I do believe God plants them in my head for a reason.

 

Do what you love.

 

Good advice to take to heart. <3

 

I have more I want to say, but I’ll leave it for next time. God bless!

 

~Ashley

September 11

September 12, 2014

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks on September 11.

I remember  where I was when that happened. I was a freshman in high school, in third period math class when I found out about the first plane hitting the tower. I thought it was an accident, like maybe the pilot just had a heart attack or stroke, or something. I don’t remember what I had fourth period; I’m thinking maybe science class? But by fifth period lunch, everyone knew that it had been a terrorist attack and not an accident. Some kids were crying, saying they wanted to go home. The principal announced that all after-school activities were cancelled until further notice.

Whenever I see images of the towers burnings, of the destruction, of the people crying….I get angry. Angry at the terrorists who hate us so much that they would stoop so low. And then….part of me feels pity. They are being lied to. Deceived by the father of lies. Satan, who is out to steal, kill, and destroy. They wanted to steal our freedom, kill innocent people, and destroy our country.

I like to watch George Bush’s  9/11 speech to the nation on YouTube. I felt so safe with him in charge. He actually cared about country, unlike the current doofenschmirtz who doesn’t know what he’s doing and would rather play golf than take charge. >:(

But I digress. I like to watch Bush’s speech, and I even have a favorite part. There’s one part in his speech where he says “These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed.”

I love those last four words. “But they have failed.” They’re comforting to me.

September 11 was a day of hell for many people, both literally and figuratively. People were trapped in buildings and airplanes, enduring 2,000 degree fire and burning to their death. People lost their loved ones, whose lives were suddenly cut short in a tragic ending.

In a way, it reminds me of Easter. Satan thought he could kill Jesus. Satan, who wanted to be better than God, and whose pride got him kicked out of Heaven, has been lying to people, deceiving them, taking them on the road to a literal hell. He doesn’t want anyone to go to Heaven and he thought by having Jesus killed, he could end that.

But he doesn’t realize Who he’s up against. Jesus was killed and buried. And for 2 days, it seemed like hell had won. I’m sure the devil was gloating, smiling with glee, sure that the whole world was his for the taking.

But he had failed.

Because on the third day, Jesus overcame death. He came back to earth to see his disciples, to talk and pray with them, and to offer everyone eternal life.

Just like America united together and banded together against our enemies, and rose up against evil, Jesus also rose up against evil, and death.

Out of the ashes and rubble of the demolished World Trade Center towers came a new tower, called One World Trade Center.

Out of the ashes and rubble of the demolished World Trade Center towers arose a cross.

 

Ground Zero cross

 

A cross arose from hell. Out of the fire, dirt, and mangled, twisted parts of the building, arose a symbol of hope. That even in the midst of a horrible day, where radical Muslims killed in the name of Islam, to their god, Allah, God still reigns.

Amidst the fear, anger, and sadness…..there was hope.

There’s a song by Chris Tomlin called “Our God”, and one of the verses goes like this: “Into the darkness You shine….Out of the ashes You rise….There’s no one like You…..none like You.”

Into the dark day of September 11, shone a cross. Out of the ashes He rose. Showing himself faithful even on America’s darkest day.

There really is no one like Him. <3

Labor Day Post

September 2, 2014

I know it’s not the end of the year yet, but I’ve been doing some reflecting on 2014. September is here already, which means that 2014 is 2/3 over. Do we really have only four more months go to? How time flies.  Last year over Labor Day weekend, we were dropping Eric off in Columbus for his 3-month DTS (Discipleship Training School) training for Nepal. Now it’s a year later, and he’s planning on going to college for a semester, then back to Columbus to be a staff intern at the RIC (Rosedale International Center) where he had his DTS training. I remember coming home after dropping him off and crying, telling God I couldn’t handle this and why did He have to call Eric to Nepal? But I survived, as did Eric, and we are both changed people, for the better. So, here are some of my reflections over the past year (well, the past eight months of it, anyway).

Answered Prayers

In 2008, I lost a dear friend of mine, and I took the loss very hard. I prayed for some new friends, friends that I could share my stories with (and feel comfortable doing so), and God mercifully heard me and answered my prayer. I met my wonderful friends on Xanga and Facebook, and although I wish we could meet for coffee or have sleepovers, I can still talk to them about anything and share my stories with them. And feel comfortable doing it, too!  :)

Another answered prayer is that God brought Eric (as well as the rest of the REACH teams) safely back from their locations. And speaking of which, I had felt so insecure about myself at the time, with Eric going to Nepal for his location and Tyler graduating college in May. But God, knowing I needed a self-esteem boost, nudged me to teach the Puggles class at church for Awana (that’s the 2-3 year olds), and they loved me! Three of the kids’ moms told me that their kids didn’t even want to go to Sunday School because I wasn’t their teacher! I am so humbled and flattered. Those kids could be a handful, but they’ve got me wrapped around their little fingers. <3

And last but not least, another answered prayer also came in the form of my new friends. There was something I had been struggling with for a while, and I felt God nudging me to tell someone. But I was scared. Finally I summoned up enough courage to tell one of my Xanga friends, and after I did that, one of my friends I met on Facebook posted a status asking if anyone had prayer requests. I messaged her and told her the same thing, and honestly, I felt such a weight lifted off me! It was so good to finally tell someone my struggles. My friends were very kind, and one of them told me, “It’s going to be okay.” That meant a lot to me, and I still tell myself that. It’s going to be okay.

Drama

I have also had the misfortune to deal with some not so nice people. There was a girl on Xanga who constantly harassed one of my friends, lied about her, lied about stuff to me and others, and was just being a bully in general. Xanga has since shut down, but this girl (her name is Leslie) has come onto Facebook to start her pointless drama all over again. Sigh. >:(  In addition to Leslie, I have had to deal with a “frenemy”- a person who both friend and enemy. “C”, as I’ll call her, will randomly pop in and out of my life, messaging me on Facebook and yet ignoring me other times.  She messaged me this past summer and I told her I was done with it. She actually apologized, which I appreciated, but I felt bad, so I apologized too. Double sigh.

Then of course, we had a car accident happen right in front of our house on a Saturday night (actually, it was the day before Mother’s Day). So I also had plenty of drama to deal with in 2014. :-/

So, that’s been my year so far. Good, bad, and ugly. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds!

Ramblings

August 13, 2014

My heart is heavy as I type. My heart is burdened for the Christians in Iraq and Syria. I wish I could fly a jet and take all of them here, to America.

I hate Islam. I struggled with not hating the jihadists, because I know that God loves them and that they each have a soul as well. Besides, it’s Satan who’s behind this. Satan lied to them about Islam. He is out to steal, kill, and destroy. So I hate him and Islam. The terrorists, well….I’m working on simply disliking them for the moment. Maybe someday I’ll feel sorry for them about how they’re being deceived by the devil.

I prayed for the Christians over there, and I felt God nudging me to pray for the jihadists. As much as I didn’t want to, I did. I prayed that God would give even just one of them a “Saul” experience. If even just ONE jihadist comes to know Christ, it’s worth it. It sounds silly, but I call him Mr. J in my prayers. Pray for Mr. J., that he would come to know Jesus and stop persecuting Christians. I also need to pray for our President, that he would also come to know Christ and do something about those terrorists in Iraq. To be honest, although Bush made mistakes, I’d feel a lot better if he were in office right now. At least he was a Christian, godly man, whereas our current commander-in-chief is also a Muslim. Blech.

But anyway, one night as I prayed, I am ashamed to admit that I argued with God. I don’t understand. He is God. He has ALL the power in the world. He can do absolutely anything. He parted the Red Sea. His only Son defeated death. So why isn’t He doing something about these barbaric terrorists beheading and persecuting His own children? Isn’t that like having a super power, and seeing someone in trouble, but not using it? Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but that’s definitely how I felt that night.

I don’t know. I know I’m one of God’s WHY-niest children. I also feel extremely guilty. I have so much, while my fellow Christians are losing so much. They’re losing family members, friends, churches, even their lives. I have a nice house to come home to, a job that I love, wonderful friends and family, clothes, food and water, and freedom. Freedom to attend church, to pray, read my Bible, play Christian music, etc.

I hate this. I hate feeling guilty having so much, and I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I am so very blessed. I also hate feeling sad and burdened, wanting to help the people over there, and not being able to.

Well, actually, I can pray. Prayer is the greatest weapon and tool we have. And I know for myself, sometimes it doesn’t seem like much.

But the Bible says, “ The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” -James 5:16

I also came across this site: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/5-things-you-can-do-for-christians-in-iraq.html

One of the things mentioned is prayer. And like I said, the site also says that prayer is the most powerful thing we can do.

Just like Elijah was fed meat from the ravens, pray that God would send food for the Christian Iraqis. Just like Saul was converted and became Paul, the greatest missionary ever, pray that at least one jihadist would become saved. Just like God closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel, pray that God would close the eyes of the terrorists when there are believers nearby, that they wouldn’t see them and leave them alone.

I’m done. I’m still bummed about it all. But I’ll keep praying. And hoping that at least one Islamic terrorist comes to know God.

Blonde Moments, Books, & Bicycles

July 27, 2014

This week has been really busy for me. We had VBS at our church this week, lasting Sunday-Thursday evenings, from 6:30-8:30. I taught the Nursery class and had a helper. Between the busyness, and possibly not getting enough sleep, I had a few blonde moments and lapses in judgement this week; one of which I kept beating myself up about. I reminded myself of the verse Romans 8:38-39, which reads: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  That helped me a little bit. I told myself that God loves me the same every day, and that past circumstances don’t change His love for me.

Well, this past Friday I was on the bookmobile with my co-worker, Gary, in Holmesville. We had 3 stops to do, and then head over to Charm for the bookmobile fund-raiser. At the end of one of our stops, we were re-shelving some books before leaving for our next stop and I came across a non-fiction book called “The Shelter of God’s Promises”, by Sheila Walsh. I opened it to the table of contents, deciding to read the chapter about God’s promise of grace. I read a bit, turned the page, and on the very next page that I turned to, there was the exact verse I’d been reminding myself of! Romans 8:38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”  How cool is that? :-)  I just felt like that was God reaffirming to me that yes, He still loved me. Sheila also went on to say in her book that God loves us because of Who He is, not because of what we do. That really hit me. It’s like, I’ve always known that God is love, but I really get it now. It clicked.

God loves me because He IS love! God is not circumstances. God is not conditional love. God is not good choices. God is love. Love when we make bad choices and have blonde moments. Unconditional love when we beat ourselves up and don’t love ourselves. I love it when something clicks and I get it. How much more does my Heavenly Father love it when one of His kiddos finally gets something? I’m so glad He is patient and doesn’t give up on me. <3

When I was a kid, both my brother and I had bikes that Mom got for us from Wal-Mart. Tyler’s was red and black, and had a sign below the seat that said “Red Rider”. (Or something like that; I don’t remember exactly).  Mine was white with pink handlebars, purple splatters across it, and a sign below the seat that said “Sea Star” and had cartoon seahorses on it. I gave my bike away to my second cousin, Tasha, several years ago because her bike was old and worn out, and I simply just wasn’t riding mine anymore. I was baby-sitting her and her sister, and I’m trying to remember how old they would’ve been. I’m thinking she was around 7 or 8, maybe, when I gave her my bike. I gave her my bike between ’05 and ’07, I believe.

Well, on Friday, at the bookmobile’s last stop in Holmesville, there was a little Amish boy who had my exact same bike! Now before you go and think, “well, maybe it just looked similar”, I am telling you it was the absolute, exact same bike that I used to have! It was white with purple splatters, pink handlebars, and the sign that read “Sea Star”, although part of the sign was torn off. Now, I don’t know if it was the bike that I used to have and gave to Tasha, or if he had somehow gotten a duplicate from another store, but it was the same type and model that I had as a kid! That totally made my day. :D Who would’ve thought that years later I’d see my old childhood bicycle?

 

Blessings until next time!

 

Ashley

More Thoughts

June 20, 2014

1. In my last post, I talked about confirmations. Well, there’s another one I want to share, but I’m not doing it to make myself look or to puff myself up. Rather, it’s to share a confirmation that God did for me.

Most of you know that my brother Eric signed up for the REACH program last year, and went to Nepal. My other brother Tyler was in college and graduated this May, while Eric came from Nepal also in May. At the time, I was feeling quite insecure about myself, wondering where I fit in. (I can’t even fit into a pair of skinny jeans, let alone my place in life. Sigh).  Most of my girl cousins are married, and I’m still waiting for Prince Charming.

Well, this year at church, we decided to do Awana for our kid’s program instead of Faith Weavers. Now Faith Weavers is a good program, but we’d beein doing it for so many years, and so we decided to try something new. Now, I had tried my hand at being a teacher for Faith Weavers for the 3 and 4 years, and needless to say, I wasn’t very good at it. I either wasn’t firm enough with the kids, or if I was firm, I was too firm and they got scared of me. :(  I had to find a balance somewhere. I didn’t want the kids to run over me and get away with stuff, but I also wanted them to feel comfortable around me. So, someone else volunteered to be the teacher, and I was the helper.

Well for Awana, there’s a group called the Puggles, which is 2 and 3 year olds. I felt God nudging me to teach that class, and I tried to fight it, thinking, “But God! I wasn’t a good teacher with the Faith Weavers class, so someone else had to be the teacher. Why do You want me to do this?” I didn’t know, but I signed up to be the teacher for the Puggles group. And, strange as it sounds, I actually enjoyed it! Most of the kids were pretty good; though a few did cry when their parents left. But I’d read the lesson, show a picture related to the lesson, then we colored, did crafts, played games, snack, and the rest of the time was play time! (With potty breaks in between, of course).

But here’s where the confirmation part comes in. One of my kids’ moms told me once (when I was running late to church due to being on the Bookmobile that afternoon/evening) that Trey (her son) threw a fit because he thought I wasn’t coming! :)  She told me that Trey said “I want Ashley!”

Awww. That made my heart melt. <3  And Trey wasn’t the only one. I later found out that 2 other kids from my class (Grady and Addi) felt the same way, and, believe it or not, Trey, plus Grady and Addi, wouldn’t even go to Sunday School on Sunday mornings because I wasn’t their teacher! Grady’s mom told me that they liked coming to my class because I made them feel safe. Uh….whoa. Previously, I was too firm with kids and they were scared of me. Now I made kids feel safe? What a turn-around!

Anyway, I believe God wanted me to teach Awana for the Puggles group to show me that I am just as needed here as Eric is in Nepal. Or Tyler is in college. I don’t know what it was I did that made these kids love me so much, but I know Who was working through me to teach them and instill the lessons in them. :)

2. On another note,  last Thursday I was on my way to a viewing, and I didn’t know how to get to the church it was being held at. (I remember being at that church once, when I was 9). Eric printed out directions from Google Maps, and I was on my way. Google Maps said the estimated time was 26 minutes. Well, believe it or not, it took me an hour and a half to get to the church because I kept making wrong turns, getting on wrong roads, turning around, and texting and calling people asking for directions! >:(  Sigh….well, at least I made it in time. But ugh! That was so frustrating.

That made me think though, of all the lost people in the world today. They’re looking for the right road….something to satisfy them. They fill themselves up with money, possessions, fame, their career, etc. They want truth. But they twist the truth to fit their desires. They go on wrong turns, and ask people what the meaning of life is, and do all sorts of good deeds….but they’re still empty. Jesus said He is the Way. The Truth. And the Life.

3. It has been almost 6 months into the New Year (although it’s not so new anymore, lol), and so far, 2014 is going pretty well! Although it’s rather personal, several of my prayers have been answered. I have wonderful friends who I can talk to about stuff (one of my friends even told me I can talk to her anytime and that she’s always here for me. :D  That made me feel good),  Eric came back from Nepal safe and sound, Tyler graduated college, 2 people I’ve been praying for have slowly started coming around, and then of course finding out that my Puggles kids loved me. :)  God is so good. But, even when He doesn’t answer our prayers the way I want Him to, He is still good. Because He is God. I am so very blessed.

4. My New Year’s resolution was to give up pop for the year (unless I’m sick and throwing up, then I’ll take Sprite or 7-Up or something), and I can’t believe it’s been nearly 6 months! Whenever our family has pizza, we always have pop to drink with it. The first time I had pizza without pop, it felt really weird. But now, I don’t think about it. The really hard part is gonna be our annual family gathering in July, where we have homemade root beer (SO much better than store-bought), popcorn, homemade ice cream, BBQ chicken, and other goodies. We only get homemade root beer once a year, at the family gathering. It’s gonna be hard for me to give it up this year (especially since we’re having Ken and Elaine, a missionary family that I haven’t seen in years, come join us this year!) But at the end of this year, I want to be able to say, “I did it!” 5 and a half months down, 6 and a half more months to go. I can do this!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

 

Randomness

June 7, 2014

1. Confirmations

I’ve been thinking about confirmations lately. I like confirmations because I have a bad habit of second-guessing myself a lot, and when something is confirmed, I feel better about my decision. Though I do need to learn to trust myself in the first place.

For example, last fall when Eric signed up to go to REACH to go to Nepal, he had to do 3 months training in Columbus first. It was hard on me when we dropped him off, because Tyler’s been in Cleveland for a few years now, and I was used to having Eric be at home and talking to him. But Eric emailed and said he loved it there in Columbus. He loved his team members, the activities the REACHERS did, the worship times, etc. I just felt like that was confirmation from God that Eric was supposed to do this. He also loved it in Nepal. :)

Another example is one time there was this guy that liked me, and we’d only met twice. The second time we met, he started asking some personal questions, and I was rather nervous and uncomfortable, to say the least. He’d wanted to go to a bonfire originally, but I had to work that day and just wanted to go home and relax. I told him I didn’t want to go to the bonfire, so he suggested a movie. I agreed, but was still nervous. Anyway, we ended up meeting at a local coffee shop and eating supper instead of going to a movie, and I was so relieved. I am not sure why, but at the time, I really, really did not want to meet with him and was so nervous and uncomfortable. I was so glad to leave the coffee shop. (He asked me out and I turned him down, by the way). Anyway, I was sort of annoyed with myself because I couldn’t understand why I was so stinkin’ nervous. I mean, personal questions would make anybody nervous, but I just had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t shake.

This past Monday I met my aunt for coffee at a different local coffee shop and told her about this. Some of her sons know this guy, and later Monday afternoon I got a text from my aunt saying: “Just a confirmation. I asked our boys about this guy, and Bradley said NO! Not good!”  I asked my aunt how he wasn’t good, and my aunt said that she didn’t know exactly; Bradley just said this guy professed Christianity but didn’t live a good life ( or at least didn’t used to), and that the guy seemed sorta messed up to him. I told my aunt to tell her boys thanks a lot, and my aunt said her boys are all glad I didn’t get in a relationship with him! :)  (I later found out that this guy has a brother who’s married, but the brother got his fiance pregnant before they got married. I’m not saying the guy who asked me out would’ve done that, but still). I feel like when my gut tells me something, I need to just trust it instead of wondering why it feels that way. I believe God saw something in that guy that wasn’t good for me, and I should have trusted God and my gut. Fellow readers, how do you determine the difference between your gut and just plain fear?

2. Desires

In my last post, I wrote about “Person” and our falling-out. That was really hard on me for many reasons, one of them being I like to write stuff (nothing that would ever get published, mind you; just fluff-stuff type pieces) and I liked showing them to her. But slowly (though I had to wait), God brought me some wonderful new friends who I can share my work with. The best part? They get me! I can talk to them about anything, and it is such a load off my shoulders. We met on Xanga (boy, I miss that site) and I became close friends with some dear people. (I don’t miss Annette/Leslie and the drama-fest fiasco she caused). I wish we could meet in person, but I know we’ll meet in Heaven. :)  I am so thankful God granted me the desires of my heart, silly as it may sound. I’m so glad God gets me, too. <3

I have a small group of these close friends that I share my heart with, and I mentioned getting a new story idea, and one of my friends told me, “Write your heart out! I’d read it.”  She probably has no idea how much her kind words planted a seed in my heart and gave me courage to write my fluff-piece. And those 4 words: Write Your Heart Out. Whenever there was something I was nervous to put in or write about, I remembered those words and wrote what was on my heart; hence, writing my heart out. I do hope she likes it. But even if she hates it, it’s okay. Because our friendship is not based on whether or not they like my stories. Our friendship is based on trust, respect, loyalty, and love.

 

3. Discouragement

Imagine going to a place where no one wants you. You’re ridiculed,  mocked, shamed, etc. You’d want to leave and go home, right? I wonder if that’s how God feels about America sometimes. Today I read an article about a new movie that came out, and it’s about abortion. Really? Have we come that low?

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/06/06/obvious-child-movie-review-jenny-slate-romantic-comedy-abortion/#comments

 

The article says “It’s so important for women to hear a story about abortion that isn’t a horror story,”  with more after it. But abortion is a horror story. It’s murdering innocent babies. In my devotions, I read a portion of both the Old and New Testaments every day, and I’m reading about Ahaz and how he sacrificed his own children to gods. That’s what we in America are doing. Offering children to the gods of money, ease, comfort, convenience, etc.

I also read Jesus’ words about the world will hate us, because it hated Him first, and that we will face persecution in the world. That comforts me, because June is Gay Pride Month, and as much as that sickens me, I can’t imagine how disgusted God is with it. Dedicating a whole month to celebrating something He very clearly stated was an abomination, making a  mockery out of something He created. How low we have stooped. :(

And finally, I read this sad article about a little girl being attacked by two pit bulls and losing part of her jaw and tongue.

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/06/06/cincinnati-girl-attacked-pit-bulls-zainabou-drame/#comments

Now, I know it may not be entirely the animals’ fault. Maybe it’s the owner’s fault for not training the dogs properly, I don’t know. But I will admit that I am more of a baby kind of person. I love babies and little kids. Not a big animal fan, although I am against animal cruelty. God gave us dominion over the animals, and when we purposely hurt animals, we’re abusing the privilege that God gave us. But, I do feel that people often put animals over people, which I cannot stand.

For example, I saw this picture on Facebook today:

Photo: Did you know that there are drivers out there that swerve intentionally to hit turtles and snakes? Some of the species that are injured/killed are even endangered species.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>If you see a turtle in the road and want to help him across, always take him to the side where he or she is headed.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Always make certain of your own safety and the safety of your children if you stop your vehicle and get out to help a turtle.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Photo and info via thestickytongue.org/” width=”417″ height=”504″ /></p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p><span class= 

 

 

 

It said above the picture “Did you know that there are drivers out there that swerve intentionally to hit turtles and snakes? Some of the species that are injured/killed are even endangered species. If you see a turtle in the road and want to help him across, always take him to the side where he or she is headed. Always make certain of your own safety and the safety of your children if you stop your vehicle and get out to help a turtle.”

 

Now hold on. We’re watching a movie about abortion, giving money to the box office to watch a movie about a sin that is being glorified, and yet we’re supposed to help Myrtle the Turtle cross the street?  Now don’t get me wrong; I would never purposely swerve in order to hit a turtle. But if I’m being honest, I’m not really making it my priority to help animals cross the road either. I’ve hit deer, raccoons, and squirrels (none on purpose, obviously). I realize this makes me sound like a cold-blooded killer, but oh well. I am who I am.

Well, I will leave off for now. I have more to say, but this is already quite long. Have a wonderful weekend, fellow readers! :D

An Eventful Weekend

May 12, 2014

I’m a little hesitant to post this, because I do not want to give anyone the wrong impression. I’m not posting this to build myself up, or to tear anyone down. That is not my intent. My intent is to simply share my journey, and how God has provided for me.

Earlier this week, my dear friend Amber wrote a post on her blog, titled “I Think They Just Don’t Like Us Very Much, How I Deal With The Rejection”.  http://motherofknights.com/2014/05/07/i-think-they-just-dont-like-us-very-much-how-i-deal-with-the-rejection/

On her post, she says (her words italicized): I wanted them to be happy for me. But they didn’t even know about my good news. After so many months of rejection, I knew that calling would be out of the question. It was quite obvious that they just didn’t want anything to do with me. With us. The hardest part was dodging my children’s questions about why we don’t see them anymore. Their innocence something I wanted to fiercely protect.

Here I was, embarking on a wonderful new path for my life, and I couldn’t share it with the people who should be most excited for me-the most joyful with me.

A part of me wanted to reach out one more time. Just try to bridge the gap from my end and extend yet another olive branch. But deep in my heart, I knew that it wouldn’t be well received.

I know that I am not alone in this situation. Perhaps you too have felt the sting of being turned aside from close friends, isolated from conversations with chummy co-workers, or down-right shunned from your family members. Maybe you too are missing out on the growing up years of little ones you love, or dread the holidays and birthdays because the void that broken relationships brings casts a cloud over what should be a happy celebration.”

That hit home for me. I had some dear friends in high school, but six years ago we had a falling-out, and our relationship (if you can even call it that) has been very strained. I know the feeling of being rejected. Of being ignored whenever I try to make contact. I commented on Amber’s post and told her so. I also told her that after five years of pain, I have finally forgiven the people who hurt me. Amber kindly replied and said that she was glad I had come to a place of forgiveness.

Two days after I commented on Amber’s post, one of the people that I’ve had to forgive messages me on Facebook out of the blue and says:

“Checked out Pinkfluffyslippers and I must say it’s an awesome blog.

Hope you are doing absolutely awesomely.

Person”   (I don’t want to use her real name on here).

Um….what?  Was God trying to test me?  I was both nervous and excited, and I messaged Person back, saying thank you and that I hoped she was doing well also. But then I started to feel somewhat irritated. This person has been out of my life for the past six years (she even told me she needed to be out of my life), but then she messages me on Facebook or comments on my Xanga (this was back when Xanga still existed), and when I called her out on it, I’d just get ignored. I messaged her a PS and asked her to please stop messaging me, since she didn’t want me in her life anymore. I expected to just be ignored again, but I actually got a response back, saying,

“Fair request.

 I’m sorry. I’ll respect that.”-Person

Now at first, I felt justified.  I had been rejected and ignored for years, and she always popped in whenever she felt like it, with no explanation. It felt good to tell her off, but God started nudging me, showing me that I should have responded differently.

You see, in Amber’s post about rejection, she also says

“So what does a passionate Christ-follower do?

She does what she can on her end to make things right, and then leaves the rest up to God. She sometimes cries it out at night, and often prays for restoration. And she works really hard to set her mind on things above. To not return evil for evil. She prays that God will keep her heart soft enough to not be bitter, and strong enough to love her enemies.

It’s hard to do, in our humanness, isn’t it?

It’s other-worldly, this God-given charge for us as believers-a radical kind of love.

Take the blows.

Give to them more than they want to take.

Be a servant.

Show generosity.

Love your enemies.

Allow the painful situation to refine you and bring out the best in you.

Pray.

Put on your big girl pants.

Live out grace.”

And I was definitely not living out grace, putting on my big girl pants, or giving them more than they could take. And I fought with God about it. “But God!” I thought, “this isn’t fair. I need to stand up for myself, and not let myself get trampled over. I need to set boundaries for myself so I’m not hurt anymore.”  But I guess God didn’t see it that way, because I kept feeling guilty and convicted, so later that evening I messaged her an apology, and some new worries crept into my mind. “What if she thinks you’re trying too hard?” They whispered.  “What if she doesn’t believe you, and you get ignored again?” My heart pounding, I pushed the “Send” button, and I can honestly say, that I had peace.

You see, I want to be the kind of person that all my friends can come to for advice, to vent, etc. And when I fought with God, I felt like, “But Person and I aren’t friends! We haven’t spoken in so many years!”  God didn’t care. He wanted me to make it right. And it’s funny, because although I had those worries about what would she think of me, God’s peace was bigger than those worries. I guess it’s the peace that passes all understanding.

Person messaged me back, and said:

Ashely your response was totally understandable. Absolutely and I appreciate your graciousness too! Thanks and hope oodles of amazing things for you! Like pink fluffy slippers. :)  ”   (I didn’t have the heart to tell her she spelled my name wrong).

I replied and thanked her for her kind response, and told her to feel free to leave a comment if she ever wants to.

Then Saturday night we had a car accident in front of our house (but that’s another story for another time). After the excitement, I saw on Person’s Facebook wall that her sister was wanting to adopt. We have a couple in our church that have 4 children, 2 of which are adopted. They started an organization called “Pure Gift of God”, and so I messaged Person with the info, and she actually replied back, and thanked me! Not to sound prideful but I sort of hoped I redeemed myself in that sense, since I’d been too harsh before.

Anyway, I’m not sure how to end this, so I will just ask for you prayers. Pray that I would have wisdom and grace in knowing how to handle this tricky, sticky situation. Pray that my words and actions would be kind and healing. Pray that Person would know what she wants, because sometimes it seems like she wants to be friends again, other times, not so much. And that confuses me.

But I must say, I am extremely grateful that she messaged me and told me she came across my blog and liked it. She didn’t have to. She could have just been a lurker, always reading my blog and never letting me know that she saw it or reads it. Why did she tell me? Does she still miss me like I miss her? At any rate, getting her kind message was like a warm hug that Friday. <3


She does what she can on her end to make things right, and then leaves the rest up to God. She sometimes cries it out at night, and often prays for restoration.”

I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do what I thought was right (though looking back, there was probably more I could’ve done), cried many many tears (Lord knows how many of my tears He’s stored up in His bottle), and I have prayed for restoration. And looking back, although I miss Person dearly, God has brought me so many new friends! Most of them I’ve met on Xanga, and so we’ve never actually met in real life. But a lot of them are writers also, and we’ve exchanged work, and I love it! I’ve also had some new friends pray with me for a husband, because that is the desire of my heart.

Again, I did not write this to make myself look good, or to tear Person down. I messed up and didn’t treat Person with kindness and grace like I should have. I’m really nervous, because she likes and reads my blog; next time she comes across it, she’ll read this post, and I’m nervous about how she’ll react to it. Prayers for that would also be appreciated.

Live out grace. Put on your big girl pants. Give more than they can take. And be filled with peace.

 

 

Of Cakes, Convictions, & Christianity

April 6, 2014

A few months ago, there was a big uproar about a Christian baker who owned a bakery, but refused to make a cake for a gay couple and their wedding. The gay couple, instead of being loving, tolerant, and going to another bakery to find a cake, decided instead to sue this baker so they could have their own way. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

I have a friend who does not support homosexuality, but she said if it had been her, she would’ve made the cake, because to her, it’s just a cake. She said she doesn’t feel like she’s endorsing same-sex marriage simply by baking a cake.

Now this got me thinking. At first I agreed with the baker. I would have refused to bake a cake for the homosexual couple too. But, I was talking to one of my Christian co-workers about it, and although my co-worker is also against same-sex marriage, she asked me, “Would you have baked a cake for a Muslim couple, or an atheist couple? Where’s the line? Where do you draw the line?”

Wow. When it’s put in that light, it seems different. I hadn’t thought about it like that. My views changed a little bit.

Okay. If I was the owner of a bakery, although I am still against same-sex marriage, if a gay couple wanted me to make a cake for their wedding, I would do it. Because if I can do it for any other couple, be it Muslim or atheist, why not a gay couple? We’re supposed to show the love of Jesus to others. Jesus said if we offer even a cup of cold water to someone, we will not lose our reward.

But wait. The verse reads like this: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” -Matthew 10:42 (NIV).

It says if we give a cup of cold water to one of the little ones who is His disciple. Muslims, atheists, and homosexuals aren’t disciples of Jesus Christ. We’re still supposed to show love to them, but is it saying we can refuse to offer them a service?

Personally, I don’t think so. Jesus sat and ate with Pharisees and sinners. Jesus wouldn’t turn anyone away. If Jesus was the owner of a bakery today, and a gay couple asked him to bake a cake, would He bake one? I like to think He would, just to extend His unconditional love for them. I mean, if you sell lots of cakes, and have a great personality, and people recommend you, your business is going to get popular. You can use that opportunity to share the love of God to all those customers you come into contact with.

Let’s go a little further. If you were a photographer, would you take pictures at a gay wedding? The Bible says not to make unto yourself any graven image, and to snap pictures of two men or two women kissing is a graven image in God’s eyes. Or what about a caterer. Would you cater a homosexual wedding? If you said no to that question, and no to the photographer question, then let me ask you, would you be okay with photographing a Muslim or atheist wedding? Catering a Muslim or atheist wedding?

If you were the owner of a Christian book store, and a gay couple came in and bought a wedding album, would you still sell it to them? Why or why not?

One of the local churches in our area knew of a lesbian couple that had a baby, and that church actually lifted up an offering to help support the lesbian couple with the baby. Now tell me, is that endorsing homosexuality, or showing the love of God by helping them out? (I will add that this church is the same denomination of church that I attend, but they’re a little more liberal, and do certain things that I don’t necessarily agree with).

I’m going to go in a bit of a different direction here. The Bible tells us to shine our light before men. “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Two things here.

1.  Let your good deeds shine. If you baked a cake for a gay wedding, took pictures for one, or catered one, would those be considered as “good deeds”? God knows your heart, and He knows you don’t endorse same-sex marriage. If you’re doing it to show the love of God to those you’re offering service to, then God knows that, and I believe He will reward you.

2. There are people in other parts of the world who are being persecuted for their faith. Most of them have to hide and have secret churches and secret meetings so they won’t get caught by the police.

Now just wait one minute.

We’re told we have to shine our light for all to see, and there are people who are hiding! Are they hiding their light? Why don’t they just have church out in the open? Yes, they might get caught, beaten, tortured, thrown into jail, and killed, but look at Daniel, from the Bible. He knew the law said to only pray to King Darius, but he still prayed right out in the open.

Now, if the Christian baker had baked a cake for the gay wedding, would the Christians have caused an uproar, saying, “Well, she must not be a true follower of Jesus then. She’s a false Christian. A real Christian wouldn’t support that abomination.”  If she had tried to explain that she doesn’t endorse same-sex marriage, but that her business is open to everyone, would we believe her? Or would we tell our friends and family, “Don’t go to that bakery. The baker claims to be a Christian, but she made a cake for a gay wedding!” We would be no better than that gay couple who smeared that baker”s reputation and sued her.

Why are we okay with other Christians hiding their light, but are so willing to tear others down when we see what we think is wrong?

Well, let’s back up. First of all, those persecuted Christians are not hiding their light. Yes, they are in hiding, but in my opinion, hiding your light means throwing away your morals, being ashamed of Jesus, etc. If you’re out with a group of friends who aren’t Christians, and you go to a restaurant, but you’re too embarrassed to pray before you eat since no one else is, that’s hiding your light. If those persecuted Christians, get caught, they will not renounce Jesus or Christianity. They are not hiding their light. They won’t be embarrassed to say they love Him. They are willing to die for their faith.

Well, I have so much more on my mind, but this is quite long, so I’ll leave it for now. Fellow readers, I’d like very much to know what your stance is on these things. Would you offer services to a gay/Muslim/atheist couple? Why or why not? Where do you draw the line? What are your convictions?

Blessings to you all! Thanks for taking the time to read this!

 

~Ashley

Being Thankful

March 31, 2014

At the beginning of the New Year, I wanted to read through the Bible in a year, and I came across a plan where I read portions of both the Old and New Testaments in a day. For example, Day 1 would probably consist of 2 or 3 chapters from the Old Testament, and half a chapter from the New Testament. I recently finished reading about Moses, Joshua, and the Israelites, and even though I’ve read the story before, I still can’t help but get annoyed when I read about the Israelites’ constant complaining.

They were in Egypt, working their butts off for the Egyptians, sweating, crying, being beaten, and they wanted out. God led them out, but then they complained about the land they were already in. They were convinced God had led them out, only to let them die. They were hungry, thirsty, and tired. So God sent them manna to eat, and although at first they eagerly ate it, after several days of the white stuff falling from the ground, they complained about it.

What ungrateful people! We tend to think. God was providing for them, and all they did was complain. At least it was something for them to eat. But then I had to stop and think, how often do we do the same? We’ve had white stuff falling down from the sky for several months, and I admit, I am tired of it too. I’ve had enough of the snow. I want sunshine and warm weather. But God has been showing me that although I don’t always enjoy snow, I need to find something about it to be grateful for. So, here goes.

Snow is pretty.

That’s it? You may think. Yeah, snow is pretty, but it’s dangerous to drive in, it’s cold, etc.

That’s true. However, I would rather have it snow and enjoy something pretty to look at outside, than have it rain locusts, flies, etc. like the Egyptians had to endure. Can you imagine what it would be like if God would send down flies and locusts in today’s time? I know I would definitely pick snow over that.

Besides, God provides people who are willing to drive snow plows and salt trucks. My parents and I arrived at church safely this morning and weren’t late, even though some of the roads were rather slick. The sun was shining after we left church and most of the snow is melted by now. Three more reasons to be thankful.

Let’s go a little further with this thankfulness thing. I have a cousin who is married, and has two small children, and will give birth to her third child in May. I’m excited to meet a new little relative, but at the same time, it’s painful for me. I deeply desire marriage and children too. However, my cousin has told me that she doesn’t really have any close friends in the town that she and her husband live in. All of her close friends live here in Holmes County. She said she misses getting together with friends and pouring her heart out.

It made me think, no, I don’t have a husband or children. But I am so blessed with good, godly, dear friends. I have wonderful friends here, and some friends out of-of-state. I have some friends that I’ve never met in person, but I’ve met through Xanga, WordPress, or through mutual friends. One such dear friend even messaged me this past week and prayed with me about a husband and children! I like that even though we may not go to a coffee shop and spill our guts, I can still message them and share my heart with them. They’re just a click away. And I know that I’ll see them in Heaven. I have such wonderful sisters in Christ. <3

This past Wednesday, I was driving to work when the power steering in my car suddenly locked, making the steering wheel tight and incredibly hard to turn. I pulled over, turned off the car and called Dad. Then I started up the car again, and thankfully, it started right up and I was able to get to work safely. This is the fourth time that I’ve been driving when the power steering has locked; it’s happened with three different vehicles (my current car being the fourth). It’s easy to get frustrated and say, “God, why does this always happen to me? Why can’t I have a normal vehicle?”

Well, let’s back up. Yes, this has happened to me four times. But, all four times, no one got hurt. No cars were hit. The first time, a lady asked me if I was okay. I said yes, told her what happened, and called Dad. The second time, my wonderful neighbors helped me. (I will add that the second time, the power steering locked on our road, and we live on a state highway, which means cars driving by all the time. Thankfully, they slowed down when they saw my neighbors helping me move our car). The third time, I was on my way to work when it locked, so I pulled over to a local bike shop, and one of the guys graciously let me stay parked there. (He kinda had no choice, as I couldn’t steer very well. :P  ).  And the fourth time, I got to work safely. And my co-workers were very kind and gracious when I told them I had car problems and was going to be late for work. We have had so many car problems in the past, and it was so easy to get mad at God. But as I look back, He always provided. Sometimes we only had one working vehicle at home, and it was hard juggling one vehicle among four people. But, at least it was working. If we would’ve had no working vehicles, that could’ve turned out very differently.

Lastly, (and this is rather off-topic), I tend to be more shy and introverted, and in Sunday School, I always feel like I should speak up more. Well, God wanted me to get out of my comfort zone, and one of our pastors asked me a question in Sunday School, and although I was somewhat nervous, I spoke and gave an answer. After the church service, he gave me a hug and told me he was glad I was in that Sunday School class! I was surprised, and happy. In my mind I was thinking, He’s happy that a shy girl who doesn’t talk a lot is in his Sunday School class?  But let’s look for another reason to be thankful.

I’m thankful that he told me so. He didn’t have to, but he did. And it made my day. :D

I’m thankful for a God who cares enough to push me out of my comfort zone.

He told me that the more often I do, the easier it’ll be. And he’s right. I do want to start speaking up more.

So, despite numerous snow storms, no husband or children, car problems, and being shy, there’s something good in every situation. You just have to look a little harder. There’s always something to be thankful for. You might not see it right away, but it’s there. :)

 

 


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